Dallas Mavericks

The Best Team in Mavericks' History: '88 vs. '11

While contemplating defensive coordinator Dwane Casey's departure to be the Toronto Raptors' head coach and whom they should take with the 26th pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, a couple more Mavs-related items buzzed through my brain this week.

1. Who from the championship team should have their number raised to the roof in retirement at American Airlines Center?

2. Could the '11 squad beat the '88 team?

When at last week's post-parade celebration Jason Terry told Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman to move over because company was headed their way it got us to thinking what Mavs' numbers deserved retiring.

Alongside Davis' No. 15 and Blackman's No. 22? Obviously Dirk Nowitzki's No. 41. He's the franchise's greatest player and he won a NBA Finals MVP in their first championship.

But along with him? Mark Aguirre's No. 24. The team's third all-time leading scorer -- although prone to moments of malcontent in the '80s -- helped Dallas to within one game of the Finals against a legendary Lakers' team in '88 and deserves immortality.

As for the '11 team, Terry's No. 31 might have earned a spot just because of his play in the final three games of The Finals. His huge 3-pointer to seal Game 5 and his 27-point performance in Game 6 -- along with his past Sixth Man Award and "JET" persona -- have cemented his positive legacy.

Jason Kidd? I'd say yes to his No. 2 as both a coronation of his second tour in Dallas but also his Hall of Fame career. I know the bulk of his elite play was sandwiched between Mavs' stops in '96 and '08, but he'll now be forever remembered not a Sun nor a Net but a Maverick. Right?

As for the two best teams in franchise history ...   

Give me the '88 squad over '11 in a 7-game series. Sounds blasphemous in the wake of what transpired last week, but I think Dick Motta's team was more talented than Rick Carlisle's.

The '88 team went 52-30, averaged 109 points per game and lost a Game 7 of the West Finals to a Lakers' team led by Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.

Why do I like '88 over '11?

Mainly because of the defensive looks they could throw at Nowitzki in the form of Sam Perkins and Roy Tarpley, both long enough and athletic enough to at least bother him into tough shots. I don't have the time or patience to construct one of those fantasy series at WhatIfSports.com, but if somebody does I'd be fascinated at the results.

POSITION                             '88                                     '11                                             

Point Guard:                     Derek Harper                            Jason Kidd

Shooting Guard:                Rolando Blackman                   DeShawn Stevenson

Small Forward:                 Mark Aguirre                             Shawn Marion

Power Forward:                Sam Perkins                             Dirk Nowitzki

Center:                            James Donaldson                      Tyson Chandler

Bench:                            Roy Tarpley, Detlef Schrempf      Jason Terry, J.J. Barea

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt

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